The sound of students running and whispering, and the birds singing were the background to one of the most impactful conversations I had while I was on my recent visit to our projects in Kenya this year.
I have spent the last six weeks on my yearly trip to visit our projects. As always, I snuck away to chat with as many of our project stakeholders—community leaders, parents and government officials—as I could. The person I most wanted to talk to today was a parent and a member of the Board of Management of our LeMolo schools, Korgoren Leonard.
I’m so glad I did.
From the beginning, Leonard has been a committed and enthusiastic advocate of the transformation that Village Impact makes possible in communities. His children attend our schools and his passion for education catapulted him to become involved in helping manage the schools in the LeMolo villages.
Out of the hundreds of people in his village, Leonard is the only one to receive an education past high school. Currently working on his Master’s in Infectious Diseases, his dream is to become a university lecturer.
For all of our students, and really, for all of us, Leonard is a shining example of what education makes possible!
I wanted to know where this passion for education came from, and Leonard generously shared his story.
His first hand experience of the impact that Village Impact has had in his village began when Leonard and his family were relocated to the LeMolo.
To help paint the picture, Leonard’s home village was set in a mountainous area. There, they did not have an issue providing a safe, stable, homestead that offered his family way to survive. LeMolo, the village where Leonard and his family were relocated, is the complete opposite. The land is dry and hard to farm, and there was absolutely nothing that he could do to provide his family with an income to survive. There was also no school for his children to attend.
The day Leonard arrived at his new home, he told himself that he would only stay 2-3 months because there was no way his family to live in such a desolate place. It wasn’t long before the family began losing hope. No matter his what he did or where he turned, Leonard couldn’t see how his family could possibly survive in a place that was so drastically different from their home village…
He lost hope.
After two months in his new village, our construction of the first Village Impact primary school began. A glimpse of hope sparked in Leonard’s spirit—it was a small spark, but knowing what education can do, for the first time since their move he felt a new sense of optimism and had a piece of hope that something would change the everything for Leonard’s family.
Leonard says, “With a school, there was a permanent change for the village.”
“The building itself brought hope to a village that had completely lost it’s hope. With the school, they knew there would be a chance for their survival. It brought hope.”
Then, Leonard shared one of the most profound things I have heard since working with VI: “And the people of LeMolo have turned their hopelessness into a beautiful village that is thriving and full of hope and permanency!
“Village Impact has empowered us to have hope which will break the chains of poverty.”
WOW! I sat there with a realization that a Village Impact school played a role in changing the trajectory of an entire village!
To date, Village Impact has built two primary schools and a high school in LeMolo. Since the building of the schools, the community has chosen to stay and set their roots! They have built permanent homes. More and more small businesses have been raised. Land that was once barren is now producing crops. And children and young people are thriving at school.
Hope has taken root from the seed that education and determination have planted—
And it is a beautiful thing!